State celebrates June as Youth Employment Month, encourages students to seek summer jobs

Friday, June 11, 2021

CONTACT: Camara Lewis, 517-930-4928

A projected 43,000 Michigan youth, ages 16-19, will seek summer employment and find jobs this season, and to help raise awareness about the importance of youth earning valuable skills and training for the future while doing so safely and legally, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaims June 2021 as Youth Employment Month in Michigan.

During the month of June, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) encourages Michigan employers to offer meaningful, safe and valuable work and volunteer opportunities to our youth. We urge them to recognize that hiring young people, including those with disabilities, even if only for a summer, is an investment in the future of our state and growing economy. We also encourage students and young people to explore training and employment services available to them.

"We have a duty to protect minors who are eager to seek employment and ensure their safety while gaining invaluable knowledge and skills that better prepare them for future careers," said LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin. "The state offers a wealth of programs and services to support young talent that puts them on a path to success now as they seek part-time employment, and in their future career endeavors."

LEO has resources for businesses, schools and parents seeking information about legally and safely employing minors under the age of 18, and can provide guidance on the Youth Employment Standards Act that ensures all minors obtain and provide a completed worker permit to their employer prior to starting work to ensure their working conditions are safe and legal.

Employers are responsible for knowing and following the law while employing minors, and the state encourages employers who need additional understanding to watch the Youth Employment Standards Act webinar.

LEO also has a wealth of programs that prepare youth with training and services that help them land meaningful employment opportunities.

The contributions of local businesses, as well as LEO services and programs through the Michigan Works! Network, are essential to developing and promoting productive opportunities for youth and young adults. Summer employment opportunities, including for those with disabilities, are offered within many Michigan industries including agriculture, amusement and recreation services, lodging, camping, retail and food service.

"Activities such as career exploration, job shadowing and skills training can help young people - our future workforce leaders - gain valuable experience and build a network of professional referrals, oftentimes while earning wages," Corbin added. "We know these employment experiences can be transformational to a young person as they begin their career pathway."

Vocational Rehabilitation services through the Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) include MRS Pre-Employment Transition Services, MRS Young Adult Services and BSBP Pre-Employment Transition Services. All are geared toward providing equal opportunities for success to youth with disabilities.

Additionally, programs such as Jobs for Michigan Graduates and the Young Professionals initiative prepare students for both education and career success.

As Michigan's economy recovers from the pandemic, now is a critical time to engage young job seekers in career preparation and exploration activities. Join the state in encouraging both youth and local businesses to take part in gainful employment opportunities, using #MIYouthEmployment to follow the conversation online.

To learn more and to find resources on youth employment, including a digital toolkit and student success stories, visit Michigan.gov/YouthEmployment.

Additional resources for Wage and Hour can be found at Michigan.gov/WageHour or by phone at 855-464-9243.

Student and employer quotes

"I'm grateful to have had the chance to work in the Young Professionals program. It helped me gain experience in the real world and gain money management skills," said Kaylee Stevens, Young Professionals Participant, Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! "I just want to thank them for never giving up on me and encouraging me to go after my dreams!"

"I'm thankful for all the help and encouragement the staff gave me, and I am so happy to be working," said Kendra Lucas, Young Professionals Participant, Ogemaw Michigan Works! "Your future self will thank you for the moments that you have tried something new."

"A young man that stands out to me came to us as a summer work experience participant, with a strong work ethic that was recognized by his immediate supervisor," said David Cartwright, assistant division director of parks, Wayne County Parks. "He was given the opportunity to apply for a permanent position and has been with us about three years now. He has shown growth throughout his employment and strength to advocate for himself."

About Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living programs described in this press release are funded 78.7% through a VR grant from the U.S. Department of Education and 21.3% through State funding. Total Federal funding for Federal Fiscal Year 2020 was approximately $19,170,588.00. The Pre-Employment Transition Services provided under the Vocational Rehabilitation program are funded 100%  through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For federal fiscal year 2020, the total amount of grant funds used exceeded $2 million.